No One Dies Alone Program Brings Comfort During Time of Grief

“Mom’s greatest wish was to go back to her volunteer days. To know that a volunteer was by her bed side is so amazing.”

January 6th, 2011 was a hard day for Nancy Lauth. Her 86-year old mother, Eileen, was taken to Swedish Medical Center after suffering a severe stroke. “She had already gone into a coma by the time I arrived at the hospital,” explains Nancy.  Living hours away, Nancy‘s stay had to be cut short so she could tend to her horses. Not wanting to leave her mother alone, she called on the No One Dies Alone program to assist her. “It was a waiting game, I needed someone there to be with her, it was just such a relief if I didn’t get back in time that she wouldn’t be alone,” says Nancy.

The No One Dies Alone program was brought to Swedish in 2010. NODA is a group made up of volunteers who are notified when someone is alone and near the end of life. “It speaks to our humanity to have somebody there to connect with a person during their last minutes on earth; it’s just amazing,” says program chair, Nan Morgan.

Volunteer Karin Ostlund was called in to be with Eileen. “I’m honored that I can sit in for families that can’t be there by their bedside,” explains Karin.  Once Nancy left the hospital for the night, Karin sat with Eileen and read to her for several hours. “It made me feel good knowing she wasn’t alone,” says Karin.

Later that evening, Eileen passed away with Karin at her side. Eileen had been a volunteer herself at Swedish for more than 30 years. “Mom’s greatest wish was to go back to her volunteer days. To know that a volunteer was by her bed side is so amazing,” says Nancy who received the chance to say her goodbyes before leaving that night.  Karin says it’s a privilege to help people during a time of need. The Lauth family couldn’t have been more grateful for NODA. “The program helped us both through it, I’m so thankful we had this option,” says Nancy.